Cramer: Until ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal, Buy These Stocks
From the David Petraeus sex scandal to the slew of holidays ahead, Jim Cramer fears policymakers might get distracted in the six weeks left to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" — a series of enacted legislation, which, if unchanged, will result in tax increases and spending cuts come January 1.
"We're now going through a process that's not unlike what happened last year when we faced the debt ceiling fiasco," Cramer said, referring to when in August 2011, Congress did not agree on raising the U.S. debt ceiling until the last possible minute, leading to massive volatility in equity markets and a downgrade of America's debt rating. "We fell 19 percent peak-to-trough before avoiding that catastrophe in the nick of time and during that decline it didn't matter what you bought, you initially lost money regardless ... you know, I think it's going to be this way this time around, too."
Take Cisco Systems, for example. The networking-gear maker reported quarterly results that topped expectations and also issued guidance that matched estimates, but its stock closed only sharply higher.
Elsewhere in the market, Home Depot pulled back following a rally in the previous session. On Tuesday, the home improvement retailer reported surprisingly strong earnings, prompting at least three brokerages to raise their price targets. Still, the stock closed at a lower level Wednesday than it had been trading before it reported earnings.
Speaking of retail, PetSmart reported strong earnings results after Wednesday's closing bell. Its stock pushed higher in after-hours trading, but Cramer suspects it, too, will likely fall on fears over the "fiscal cliff."
To Cramer, investors should consider all three of these stocks. If not for the "fiscal cliff" debacle, he thinks each name would be trading higher.
Later on "Mad Money," Cramer grouped GNC's stock into that category, too. The company recently reported a what he called a "triple play" — better-than-expected earnings, guidance and sales. Yet GNC's stock has declined amid fears over the "fiscal cliff" to the point Cramer thinks it's a "steal."
He added CVS Caremark's stock to the list, too, for the same reasons.
While it remains to be seen whether Washington will work together to avert the "fiscal cliff," Cramer said investors should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. In other words, he thinks investors should consider stocks, in which the underlying companies are best suited to weather a recession.
Coca-Cola is a good example, Cramer said. After all, it's unlikely people will drink any less Coke if the "fiscal cliff" is not resolved. Besides, the soft drink maker's business is no longer U.S.-driven, but concentrated on acquiring growth overseas. From plastics to packaging and fuel, many of its raw costs are down, too.
(Read More: 'Fiscal Cliff' Mess Is a 'Grand Canyon': Bill Gross)
General Mills benefits from a similar set of circumstances, Cramer said. It faces no diminution of demand and its raw costs are falling.
Meanwhile, Cramer said other stocks have experienced declines so sudden and severe that investors "can't afford not to start buying these, small, but buying them into the broad sell-off."
Consider Verizon Communications, for example. When the company reported strong earnings results, its stock was trading at around $47 a share, but has since dropped to $42 a share with a 5 percent dividend yield — an attractive level, in Cramer's opinion.
So what's the bottom line?
"There's no hurry to put money all at once to work right now because like last year, all the early birds got crushed," Cramer said. "But for some stocks it's already too late to sell and for others? Last year's Armageddon playbook says it's right to start buying the recession proofers and the big yielders right here."
—CNBC.com and Reuters contributed to this report